2005 PA Super 55
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, : IN THE SUPERIOR COURT OF
THOMAS W. DRUCE, III, :
Appellant : No. 793 MDA 2004
Appeal from the Order Entered May 6, 2004
In the Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County
Criminal Division at No. 222 CR 2000
BEFORE: BENDER, PANELLA and MONTEMURO*, JJ.
OPINION BY BENDER, J.: Filed: February 11, 2005
¶1 Thomas W. Druce, III, appeals from the May 6, 2004 order that
essentially denied his request for credit for time served while on bail pending
appeal where he was subject to, inter alia, electronic monitoring and an
overnight curfew. He raises two issues that implicate the legality of his
sentence. First, he challenges the court’s decision to deny credit as he
requested. Second, he challenges, for the first time in this appeal, the
legality of his sentence in light of the United States Supreme Court’s decision
in Blakely v. Washington, 124 S.Ct. 2531 (2004). We affirm.
¶2 In the opinion from our Court on Appellant’s direct appeal from his
judgment of sentence, we set forth the following factual history:
Appellant is Thomas W. Druce, III, a prominent figure in
state politics and, until mid-2000, an eight-year member of the
Pennsylvania House of Representatives. In September of 2000,
appellant pled guilty to a number of charges filed against him in
connection with the death of Kenneth Cains. On July 27, 1999 at
approximately 10:30 PM, appellant was driving his Jeep Grand
*Retired Justice assigned to the Superior Court.
Cherokee on Cameron Street in Harrisburg when he struck Mr.
Cains as he was walking along the street. Appellant did not stop
at the accident scene, but rather continued driving through
town. The injuries Mr. Cains suffered as a result of the impact
A police investigation into the accident initially yielded no
results. Approximately five months later, Dauphin County law
enforcement authorities received an anonymous tip that
appellant was involved. In January of 2000, investigators
interviewed appellant. According to the affidavit of probable
cause, appellant confirmed to police that “he struck something at
that location [Cameron Street], ... indicated that he was looking
down toward the passenger seat at the time of the collision ...
[and] thought he had struck a sign.” Appellant further admitted
to police that he made a claim to his automobile insurance
company, declaring that he was involved in an automobile
accident on that night, but at a different location.
…. [I]t appears that the following facts are undisputed.
First, within hours of the incident appellant stopped at a
convenience store, bought duct tape and made some repairs to
his Jeep. Second, the day after the incident appellant told his
insurance company that he was involved in an accident while
driving on the Pennsylvania Turnpike and that the accident
caused damage to his Jeep. Third, in the days following the
incident, appellant brought his Jeep to an auto repair shop and
requested prompt repair of the damage, which included a
cracked windshield. Fourth, appellant traded in his Jeep after
the repairs were accomplished and leased a new vehicle. Fifth,
two of appellant’s colleagues asked him whether it was his
vehicle that was involved in the Cameron Street accident and
appellant replied that it was not.
Commonwealth v. Druce, 796 A.2d 321, 323-24 (Pa. Super. 2002)
(footnote omitted). On September 11, 2000, Appellant pled guilty to
charges of Accidents Involving Death or Personal Injury (75 Pa.C.S. § 3742);
Tampering With or Fabricating Physical Evidence (18 Pa.C.S. § 4910(1));
Insurance Fraud (18 Pa.C.S. § 4117); and summary offenses including
Careless Driving (75 Pa.C.S. § 3714); Driving Vehicle at Safe Speed (75
Pa.C.S. § 3361); Immediate Notice of Accident to Police (75 Pa.C.S.
§ 3746); and Duty to Give Information and Render Aid (75 Pa.C.S. § 3744).
In exchange for this plea, the Commonwealth agreed to drop a charge of
Homicide by Vehicle (75 Pa.C.S. § 3732). See id. at 324-25.
¶3 On October 27, 2000, the trial court sentenced Appellant to
consecutive terms of one to two years’ imprisonment for Accidents Involving
Death; six months to one year imprisonment for Tampering With or
Fabricating Physical Evidence; and six months to one year imprisonment for
Insurance Fraud. See id. at 326. The aggregate sentence is two to four
years’ imprisonment. As we described in our previous opinion:
At the sentencing hearing, Judge Kleinfelter also revoked
appellant’s bail. ….
Appellant also filed an emergency petition with this court,
requesting that he be granted bail pending appeal. After this
court denied his request for bail, appellant sought relief from the
Pennsylvania Supreme Court via an emergency petition. That
court granted appellant’s request and remanded the matter to
the trial court for imposition of bail pending appeal.
On remand, Judge Kleinfelter did not preside over the bail
hearing; rather, the matter was assigned to the Honorable Todd
A. Hoover. Judge Hoover ultimately set bail at $600,000.00, far
in excess of appellant’s request of $40,000.00 and higher than
the Commonwealth’s recommendation of $500,000.00. Judge
Hoover also imposed conditions on appellant’s release, including
electronic home monitoring pursuant to Dauphin County's Adult
Probation Department and an 8:00 PM to 6:00 AM curfew.
Id. at 326-27 (footnote omitted).
¶4 We affirmed Appellant’s judgment of sentence on March 15, 2002. Id.
at 327. Our Supreme Court granted Appellant’s petition for allowance of
appeal and affirmed Appellant’s judgment of sentence on April 29, 2004.
Commonwealth v. Druce, 848 A.2d 104 (Pa. 2004). Later that same day,
the Commonwealth filed a petition to revoke bail and set credit for time
served according to 42 Pa.C.S. § 9760 (governing credit for time served).
Following a hearing on May 6, 2004, the trial court revoked bail and granted
credit for the 56 days Appellant was actually incarcerated pre-bail (i.e., the
court committed Appellant on his original sentence minus time served from
October 27, 2000, to December 21, 2000). Appellant filed a motion for
reconsideration, which the trial court denied on May 12, 2004. Appellant
filed the instant appeal on May 17, 2004, in which he challenges the May 6,
2004 order revoking bail and granting only 56 days’ credit.
¶5 In his brief, Appellant raises the following “Statement of Questions
A. WHETHER APPELLANT’S JUDGMENT OF SENTENCE IS
ILLEGAL TO THE EXTENT THAT THE TRIAL COURT
REFUSED TO GRANT HIM ANY CREDIT TOWARD HIS
SENTENCE FOR TIME SERVED UNDER THE COUNTY’S
HOME DETENTION/ELECTRONIC MONITORING PROGRAM,
WHICH CONSTITUTES “CUSTODY” FOR PURPOSES OF
SECTION 9760(1) OF THE SENTENCING CODE AND
BECAUSE THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF THE 3 YEARS,
4 MONTHS OF HIS BAIL PENDING APPEAL WERE CLEARLY
PUNITIVE IN NATURE?
Answered in the Negative by the Court Below.
B. WHETHER APPELLANT’S JUDGMENT OF SENTENCE IS
ILLEGAL BECAUSE THE TRIAL COURT
UNCONSTITUTIONALLY IMPOSED AGGRAVATED
SENTENCES FOR INSURANCE FRAUD AND TAMPERING
WITH EVIDENCE UNDER THE SENTENCING GUIDELINES
WHEN ONLY A JURY BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT MAY
FIND AN AGGRAVATING FACTOR THAT INCREASES A
Not answered by the Court below.
Appellant’s brief at 4. The trial court did not answer the second question in
its opinion filed pursuant to Pa.R.A.P. 1925(a) because Appellant did not
raise it in his Pa.R.A.P. 1925(b) concise statement of matters complained of
on appeal but, rather, raised it for the first time in this appeal. However,
like the first question, the second question raises the legality of Appellant’s
sentence, and “[u]nlike discretionary aspects of sentence, the legality of
sentence is never waived and may be the subject of inquiry by an appellate
court sua sponte.” Commonwealth v. Kitchen, 814 A.2d 209, 214 (Pa.
Super. 2002). See also 42 Pa.C.S. § 9781(a) (indicating that “[t]he
defendant … may appeal as of right the legality of the sentence”).
Additionally, with regard to both questions, the issue of whether a sentence
is illegal is a question of law; therefore, our task is to determine whether the
sentencing court erred as a matter of law and, in doing so, our scope of
review is plenary. Commonwealth v. Collins, 764 A.2d 1056, 1057 (Pa.
2001). We now examine each question in the order presented.
¶6 In his first issue, Appellant argues that the trial court erred by refusing
to give him credit for time served, under 42 Pa.C.S. § 9760, while on bail,
subject to conditions of house arrest with electronic monitoring, pending
appeal. Appellant emphasizes that he is not seeking credit for hours he
spent at work as approved by his probation officer or the vacation he took
with family with court approval. See Appellant’s brief at 14-15. Rather, he
wants credit only for the time he was under house arrest with electronic
monitoring at his residence in Bucks County. This time is for 10 hours each
day from December 21, 2000, to April 2001 when his curfew was 8 p.m. to 6
a.m., and for 8 hours each day from April 2001 to May 6, 2004, when his
curfew was 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. Id. at 15. Essentially, he wants credit for the
evening, night, and early morning curfew hours spent at home in his
residence in Bucks County during the time he was out on bail pending
appeal. We conclude initially that the trial court did not err by refusing to
grant the credit requested.
¶7 The provision under which Appellant seeks credit is 42 Pa.C.S.
§ 9760(1), which directs the court to give credit as follows:
(1) Credit against the maximum term and any minimum term
shall be given to the defendant for all time spent in custody as
a result of the criminal charge for which a prison sentence is
imposed or as a result of the conduct on which such a charge is
based. Credit shall include credit for time spent in custody prior
to trial, during trial, pending sentence, and pending the
resolution of an appeal.
42 Pa.C.S. § 9760(1) (emphasis added). Our purpose is to determine if the
trial court was correct in determining that Appellant was not “in custody” for
purposes of this section during those overnight curfew hours where he was
confined to his residence in Bucks County or elsewhere with permission.1
¶8 In Commonwealth v. Vanskiver, 819 A.2d 69 (Pa. Super. 2003) (en
banc), we examined the question of the meaning of the term “time spent in
custody” for purposes of section 9760(1). See id. at 74. We stated:
Our Supreme Court addressed this issue, as a matter of
first impression, in the plurality opinion of Commonwealth v.
Chiappini, 566 Pa. 507, 782 A.2d 490 (2001). A plurality of the
Supreme Court concluded that the defendant in Chiappini was
entitled to credit for time served under the Lackawanna County
Home Confinement/Electronic Monitoring Program because the
restrictions of the program, as employed in that particular case,
constituted “custody” for purposes of section 9760(1). See id.
at 499 n.10. Recognizing that the Sentencing Code does not
provide a definition of “custody,” the Court turned to the
Statutory Construction Act, 1 Pa.C.S. § 1903(a), and relied on
common and approved usage of the term “custody.” Id. at 498.
The Court concluded that custody includes forms of restraint
other than imprisonment. Id. at 500-501. Although
“imprisonment” is one form of “custody,” custody is a much
broader term. Id. at 500. Since the legislature chose the term
“custody,” rather than the term “imprisonment,” when drafting
section 9760, the Court rejected the Commonwealth’s argument
that forms of restraint other than imprisonment cannot be
counted for credit under section 9760. Id. The Court stated[:]
[i]n determining whether a person has spent time in
custody it is necessary to examine the extent of control
exercised by those in authority. The type of technology
employed in this case has made it possible for prison
authorities to restrain and severely limit a person's
freedom by limiting his ability to move about freely to the
confines of his home. The restrictions placed upon
Appellant here went well beyond the restrictions typically
In other words, at the hearing on May 6, 2004, Appellant sought credit
only for curfew hours, which were from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. from December 21,
2000 until April 11, 2001, when his curfew changed to 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.
See N.T. Hearing, 5/6/04, at 5-7.
employed by a court in releasing a defendant on his own
recognizance or upon a condition that a defendant not
leave the jurisdiction of the court.
Id. at 501. The Court limited its discussion to the Lackawanna
County Electronic Monitoring Program. The Court indicated,
"[w]hether other programs fall within the meaning of the term
custody is a question that will need to be examined in each
individual case." Id. at 501 n. 12.
In finding that the Lackawanna County electronic home
monitoring program constituted custody, the plurality noted the
following factors: (1) the program is administered by
Lackawanna County prison authorities; (2) a participant in the
program is considered an “inmate” of the Lackawanna County
prison and his residence is considered to be a jail without bars;
(3) a participant must at all times wear a non-removable ankle
or wrist bracelet; (4) a monitoring device is connected to the
participant’s telephone and corrections personnel are permitted
to enter the participant’s home to maintain this equipment; (5)
the program restrictions are monitored by telephone calls and
visits by home detention staff members; and (6) a participant
must cooperate with home detention staff and permit them to
enter his or her residence upon request at any time, day or
night. Id. at 497.
Vanskiver, 819 A.2d at 74-75. Our overall task is to “examine the rules
and regulations of each program on a case-by-case basis by considering the
extent of control exercised by those in authority and the restraints and
limitations on the freedom of the individual seeking credit for time served.”
Id. at 77. In Vanskiver, for example, we concluded that the appellant’s
participation in a Delaware County electronic home monitoring program did
not constitute custody. Although the appellant had to constantly wear an
electronic ankle bracelet that permitted monitoring of his distance from his
home telephone, which factor favored a finding of custody, other factors
militated against finding custody. For example, the program was
administered by the trial court rather than prison authorities, officials of the
program were not permitted to enter the appellant’s home without his
consent to repair malfunctioning monitoring equipment, he was not subject
to warrantless searches, and he was routinely permitted to engage in many
of his regular activities outside the home. Id. at 75-76.
¶9 As Vanskiver instructs, we examine the individual circumstances of
the case before us to determine whether the conditions imposed upon
Appellant during his period on bail pending appeal constitute “custody” for
purposes of credit under section 9760. As noted above, in making this
determination, we consider “the extent of control exercised by those in
authority and the restraints and limitations on the freedom of the individual
seeking credit for time served.” Id. at 77.
¶ 10 The record supports the trial court’s decision to deny credit for the
overnight hours spent at home during each curfew period beginning at 8
p.m. or 10 p.m. and ending at 6 a.m. the following morning. Appellant
testified that his main residence is in New Britain Township, Bucks County,
where he lives with his wife and three children. N.T. Hearing, 5/6/04, at 8.
This was the residence where Dauphin County probation officer Robert
Baylor, with whom Appellant frequently communicated, installed electronic
monitoring equipment to enforce Appellant’s overnight curfew. Id. at 9, 65.
Appellant was required to wear an electronic monitoring device at all times,
except for a one week period where Appellant was on vacation with his
family in New Jersey where he was not subject to monitoring or a curfew.
Id. at 24.
¶ 11 Although he wore the electronic monitoring device at all times,
Appellant was not required to be home except during overnight curfew
hours. Id. at 26. Indeed, the only reason the electronic monitoring device
was on Appellant was because he chose to reside in Bucks County, outside
of Dauphin County limits, and this was the best way for the Dauphin County
Adult Probation and Parole Office to maintain contact with Appellant. Id. at
42. The electronic monitoring was used solely to enforce provisions of an
overnight curfew. Id. at 43. During non-curfew hours, Appellant was free
to come and go as he pleased. Id.
¶ 12 However, Appellant’s bail conditions required him to maintain contact
with the Dauphin County Adult Probation and Parole Office, which is an arm
of the court, not an arm of the prison system. Id. at 42. On a “daily basis,
or at least weekly” Appellant “communicated with Mr. Terry Davis [Director
of Dauphin County Adult Probation and Parole] through electronic emails
giving [his] schedule.” Id. at 8-9. For the weekend, Appellant would
provide an overview of his schedule. Id. at 9.
¶ 13 On dozens of occasions, with permission freely granted, Appellant
would stay at his second residence in Susquehanna Township outside of
Harrisburg. Id. at 9, 37. This second residence was not equipped with
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electronic monitoring. Id. at 10. Whenever Appellant would report to
Harrisburg, he was instructed to page Mr. Baylor. Id. at 65. Overall,
Appellant did not stay overnight at home on approximately 50 occasions and
received extensions on his curfew about 30 to 35 times. Id. at 56-57. Mr.
Davis always granted Appellant’s requests to be out past curfew hours. Id.
at 44. Appellant would seek, and easily receive, approval from authorities to
extend his curfew for events related to work or, for example, family
activities such as his child’s baseball game or school play. Id. at 16-17. Mr.
Davis even granted Appellant’s requests to leave the state on several
occasions, including a one week trip to the New Jersey shore for vacation,
free of the electronic monitoring ankle bracelet. Id. at 44-45.
¶ 14 We further recognize that the bail conditions prohibited Appellant from
possession or consuming alcoholic beverages. Id. at 28. The bail conditions
further provided that Appellant be subject to random and unannounced
visits, and contact by the Dauphin County Adult Probation and Parole, who
monitored Appellant, in order to ensure compliance with bail provisions. Id.
at 29. Mr. Davis ordered that there would not be searches of Appellant’s
person. Id. at 43. However, Mr. Davis never communicated this to
Appellant. Id. at 60. Nevertheless, Appellant stated that authorities never
searched his person, residences, or office. Id. at 11. The bail conditions
also required Appellant to cooperate if a probation officer needed to enter
Appellant’s home to maintain the electronic monitoring equipment. Id. at
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60. Mr. Davis had no authority to arrest Appellant because he was not
under probation supervision but, rather, in a bail program overseen by the
court. Id. at 52.
¶ 15 Indeed, there are a few features of Appellant’s bail conditions that
favor a finding of credit – e.g., the fact that probation department officials
could conduct random, unannounced visits and the requirement that
Appellant not possess or consume alcoholic beverages. However, we cannot
conclude that Appellant was in custody for purposes of section 9760 when he
was able to do essentially as he pleased during non-curfew hours, was
overseen by the courts rather than the prison system, and was granted
every curfew extension and travel request. Curfew hours were overnight,
and Appellant admitted to retiring to sleep generally around 11 p.m. or
midnight, and arising at around 7 a.m. the next morning. Id. at 13-14.
Thus, Appellant essentially asked the court to credit him for overnight
sleeping hours, which the court correctly refused to do. We are to evaluate
each credit request on a case-by-case basis and, given the overall picture of
control exercised by authorities and the restraints and limitations on
Appellant’s freedom, we cannot conclude that he was in custody for
purposes of granting credit for hours spent each night under a curfew.
¶ 16 Accordingly, we affirm the trial court’s order granting credit only for
the 56 days Appellant spent incarcerated until bail was set. See id. at 2.
The hours spent at home (or away with permission) during each overnight
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curfew period that Appellant seeks to have credited do not qualify as “time
in custody” for purposes of section 9760.
¶ 17 In his second issue, Appellant argues that now, under the authority of
the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Blakely v. Washington, 124
S.Ct. 2531 (2004), his sentences for insurance fraud and tampering with
evidence are illegal because the court imposed sentences in the aggravated
range of our Sentencing Guidelines on these counts, without the benefit of a
jury finding the aggravating factor or factors that would justify these
sentences.2 In support of his argument, Appellant relies entirely on the
decision in Blakely.
¶ 18 Recently, we were faced with the same issue in Commonwealth v.
Bromley, 862 A.2d 598 (Pa. Super. 2004). In Bromley, the appellant
claimed that his sentence in the aggravated range for possession with intent
to deliver marijuana was illegal because a judge, rather than a jury, made a
“‘judicial determination of a non-objective fact not charged,’ and thus
[violated] his Sixth Amendment right to trial by jury.” Id. at 600. We
rejected this argument. Like Appellant in the instant case, the appellant in
Bromley “was not subjected to a sentencing scheme where a factor
increased his sentence beyond the statutory maximum; he was not even
The aggravating factor cited by the court was that these charges arose
from Appellant’s effort to conceal a homicide.
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sentenced beyond the guidelines. Rather, he received a sentence in the
aggravated range.” Id. at 601. As we further stated in Bromley:
[I]n the Pennsylvania [sentencing] scheme, … there is no
requirement that a sentencing court make a specific finding prior
to sentencing in the aggravated range. The sole requirements
are that the judge follow the general principles outlined above
[see 42 Pa.C.S. § 9721(b)] and provide reasons for the
sentence which he or she imposes.
The significant finding of both Apprendi and Blakely appears
to be that if a sentencing scheme mandates a certain sentence
for a certain crime and only allows the imposition of a greater
sentence based upon specific factual findings about the
underlying crime, then, unless those factual findings are made
by the jury, the scheme runs afoul of the Sixth Amendment.
Thus, we hold that Blakely does not implicate the Pennsylvania
scheme, where there is no promise of a specific sentence, and a
judge has the discretion to sentence in the aggravated range so
long as he or she provides reasons for the sentence.
Id. at 602-603. Thus, Appellant’s argument, which relies solely on the
applicability of Blakely, fails for the same reasons the argument failed in
See Apprendi v. New Jersey, 120 S.Ct. 2348 (2000). The Apprendi
Court held: “Other than the fact of a prior conviction, any fact that increases
the penalty for a crime beyond the prescribed statutory maximum must be
submitted to a jury, and proved beyond a reasonable doubt.” Id. at 2362-
63. The Apprendi Court concluded that a New Jersey sentencing scheme
that permitted the sentencing judge to impose a ten-year enhancement on
the maximum sentence if he or she found, by a preponderance of the
evidence, that the underlying crime was also a hate crime, resulted in a due
We make no enunciation today about the applicability of Blakely under
circumstances other than those presented by Appellant in the instant case.
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¶ 19 For the foregoing reasons, we affirm the May 6, 2004 order setting
credit for time served and revoking bail.
¶ 20 Order affirmed.
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